In the Federal Government, there are agencies that employ criminal investigators to collect and provide information to the United States Attorneys in the respective district.
You may already know some of the agencies, such as:
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
United States Secret Service (USSS)
Health & Human Services (HSS-OIG)
Homeland Security Investigations (DHS/HSI)
The investigators at these agencies investigate the crime and obtain evidence, and help prosecutors understand the details of the case. The prosecutor may work with just one agency but, many times, several investigating agencies are involved.
Part of the investigation may involve a search warrant. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution usually requires that police officers have probable cause before they search a person’s home, their clothing, car, or other property. Searches usually require a search warrant, issued by a “neutral and detached” judge. Arrests also require probable cause and often occur after police have gotten an arrest warrant from a judge.
Depending on the specific facts of the case, the first step may actually be an arrest. If police have probable cause to arrest a suspect (as is the case if they actually witnessed the suspect commit a crime), they will go ahead and make an arrest.
Stay silent and invoke your right to counsel in a dignified manner such as, "investigator I would like to assist you, but on the advice of my attorney, I cannot speak to you without him present."
The human tendency in stressful situations is a desire to defend oneself and, as a result, made significant admissions—ones that you believed would convince the investigator that there is no case, will likely hurt you later. Fight that urge and remain silent because what you may say is likely to provide probable cause for an arrest or be misconstrued in its entirety leading to an arrest for providing misleading facts to an investigator, a felony in itself.
A common law enforcement trick is to promise you leniency for your cooperation. Bear in mind, that law enforcement can mislead you and it's within their right, but it's crime for you to mislead them. You will soon learn that there are two classes of people in America, the ruling elite has a set of laws that are different than the common citizen. So remain silent for best results.
If a federal investigator contacts you, it's best to reach out to an attorney immediately to determine what they want and if you are willing to listened to them. Many times the government contacts individuals that they are interested to determine if the individual is willing to assist them in a matter. Other times, the federal investigator has contacted you because you are a target in an investigation.
Some of the advantages of retaining counsel immediately include:
You're not interested in assisting the government, but it's too stressful to turn them down yourself;
If you are a target, by having your attorney turn them away the government may not have probable cause for an arrest and/or a case;
If you are a target, your attorney can listen to what the government has and relay that information to you to determine the strategy;
An attorney can make arrangements for a surrender, this typically keeps the feds from arresting you in the workplace, thus saving your job;
An attorney may be able to persuade the government to drop the investigation;
An attorney may be able to have you released from custody during the case with little to no bail.
The reality of being prosecuted is that the case may take years, 3-4 in fact. If you are arrested at work, then the workplace typically will terminate your services within days. With an arrest on your record, it's difficult to find new work.
After the investigation is complete, the prosecutor evaluates a case, and uses all the statements and information they have to determine if the government should present the case to the Federal Grand Jury — one in which all the facts lead to a specific person or persons who committed the crime. However, before the prosecutor made that conclusion, they have to look at both direct and circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence is evidence that supports a fact without an inference. Testimony of an eyewitness to a crime would be considered direct evidence because the person actually saw the crime. Testimony related to something that happened before or after the crime would be considered circumstantial.
The second type of evidence is circumstantial evidence — statement(s) or information obtained indirectly or not based on first-hand experience by a person. Circumstantial evidence includes people’s impressions about an event that happened which they didn’t see. For example, if you went to bed at night and there was no snow on the ground but you awoke to snow, while you didn’t actually see it snowing, you assume that it snowed while you slept.
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